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Environment and Outdoors

New Lighthouse Foghorns Will be Activated by Boaters' Radios

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — The U.S. Coast Guard plans to install devices that allow mariners to activate sound signals at 17 lighthouses across the state.

The work is expected to be completed in mid-February.

Mariner Radio Activated Sound Signals, or MRASS, is replacing a system that turns on automatically when fog is detected. Coast Guard waterways management chief Lt. David Bourbeau says the aging fog detector equipment has been failing, is not very reliable and requires a lot of maintenance.

"This new fog signal will be activated, not by the fog anymore, it'll be activated by mariners calling in and turning it on with their marine radio using channel 83 and pressing their microphone 5 times," he says.

Bourbeau says the Coast Guard is not only reaching out to professional mariners to let them know about the change, but also recreational and seasonal boaters.

"We really want people to know the importance of having a marine radio," Bourbeau says. "It doesn't have to be anything super fancy; could be a hand held marine radio, but we strongly urge that as not only a tool to turn on the sound signals, but to contact the Coast Guard in an emergency."

Bourbeau says the Coast Guard is not only reaching out to professional mariners to let them know about the signal activation change, but also recreational and seasonal boaters.